I finally got around to making bagels and I don’t know why it took me so long because they were incredible!
Whenever I think of warm toasted bagels I’m instantly transported back to when I was house sitting in London in 2014 over Christmas. My best friend and I were so lucky to score a house sit in central London and it was incredible! Not only was it in the sweetest little town called Putney but it was a 5 story mansion that was so sweet and cozy. Nearly every morning we would have toasted bagels for breakfast. It was quite a novelty for us because you can’t easily buy bagels in Australia whereas in England we could buy all different kinds just from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Our favourite two flavours were the New York Bakery Co. Red Onion & Chives and the Cinnamon & Raisin ones.
I’ve since tried to find something similar in our grocery stores here in Aus but with no success. So I was left with no other option but to tackle the task of making them from scratch. I was expecting them to be quite laboursome but it was actually so easy. To be honest I was quite chuffed with how good they turned out! My family loved them too!
I made a variety of flavours too as a bit of an experiment. I simply halved the plain dough and with one half I added 1 clove of minced, fried garlic and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves to the plain dough and knead it into the dough till well combined. I also topped these ones with fresh rosemary leaves, salt and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese before placing them in the oven. These were definitely my favourite! They tasted best fresh out of the oven, all warm and crispy, but they were also really delicious sliced in half and toasted with butter!
The other half of plain dough I left plain and just topped the bagels with sesame seeds (you could also use poppy seeds).
Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels
Total Time: 2 hours
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water (you may need more, I definitely did)
3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Sesame seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, poppy seeds. I chose to make half of them rosemary and garlic and half plain, topped with sesame seeds.
1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour the remaining warm water into the well and mix till combined in a thick, dough. You may need to add more warm water to get the correct consistency (though only add a tablespoon at a time to ensure you don’t over do it and end up with a runny dough). You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it all together. It should be coming away from the sides of the bowel as you mix.
4. On a floured bench top, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Work in as much flour as possible whilst kneading to form a firm and stiff dough. If you want to make different flavours separate your dough in half and knead in your choice of flavours. I added 1 clove of fresh minced garlic (that I fried until lightly brown) and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves to half my dough.
5. Lightly spray a large bowl with oil and turn the dough in the bowel to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour to prove. The dough should double in size. After an hour punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball.
7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°C fanforced.
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Once the bagels are in let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel.
10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” (listed above) to top the bagels but before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven.
11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
13. Cool on a wire rack.